I have the following code:

It gives me a segfault when I modify any element in the character string. Why is that? The first two statements print fine but as soon as I modify the value of any element in the character string it gives me an error! I have tried hard but I can't find an explanation for the segfault. For the statement that is causing the segfault I tried str[3] = 'a'; but that too is giving me the same error.


void stringmodify(char *);
int main()
{char *array = "BLAH BLAH";
return 0;


void stringmodify(char *str)

printf("%s\n", str);

printf("%c\n", str[3]);



Edited 1 Year Ago by anumash

I found the error! I had to instantiate the array in main by doing this char str[] = "BLAH BLAH"but what I don't understand is why doesn't the above method work to modify the character string when instantiated like this: char *str = "BLAH BLAH"?? Why does it give a segfault????

Edited 1 Year Ago by anumash

Any string you create like this:
"some words"
is a string literal. The memory that those letters occupy is read only. This is part of the C standard; the rules of C. String literals are read only and you cannot change them.

So when you do this:
char *str = "BLAH BLAH"
you create a pointer, str, that is pointing to a string literal. That's fine. But when you do this:
str[3] = 'a'
you are trying to change that string literal. That is not allowed.

If you do this:
char str[] = "BLAH BLAH"
you are making a copy of the string literal, which you put in an array named str, and you are allowed to do whatever you like with that copy.

Edited 1 Year Ago by Moschops

While the first construct is still allowed in most C compilers, current C++ compilers will issue a warning about assignment of a string constant to a non-const char*.

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